Comment - Spirits - A Word with Woodard
By: Richard Woodard
Resident columnist and spirits know-it-all Richard Woodard provides his monthly take on the latest in the global white spirits industry.
For years, rum was lined up to be the spirits industry's next big thing. And yet, for all the shining promise of the category's mix of heritage, mixability and positive lifestyle cues, that potential has never quite been fully exploited, particularly in the vital US market. Richard Woodard reports.
Brown-Forman's recent strategic moves represent a narrowing of the company's focus on its core strengths: Whisk(e)y in all its forms, with Tequila playing a supporting role. The big question now is whether that process should continue to its logical conclusion with the disposal of Finlandia vodka, a brand that has hardly been a star performer in recent times.
What is the best way to evaluate a spirits brand's performance? Is it all about volume? Is it about value? Or, is there more to it than that? Do some brands deserve extra credit for pioneering a new segment, over-achieving in their given sphere, transcending their category? Johnnie Walker is one name that ticks most - if not all - of these boxes; Jameson is, arguably, another. But, what about Patrón Tequila?
Much as all looks rosy in the UK, the gin sector has struggled in the US in recent years. What is the segment doing wrong, in a spirits market that offers generous bounty? Richard Woodard investigates.
This month, white spirits commentator Richard Woodard considers the present health - or lack thereof - of Pernod Ricard's flagship vodka brand, Absolut.
While some have predicted turbulent times for the Global Travel Retail business, spirits columnist Richard Woodard sees a long and lucrative future for the sector.
Since almost the turn of the Century, it's been all about the BRICs. Brazil, Russia, India and China have spent the last 16 years as the focus for growth for every drinks company out there. Richard Woodard takes a look at the four countries and surveys their importance in 2016.
Do you remember the Pepsi Taste Challenge? Richard Woodard does, and he sees echoes of it in Bacardi's latest activation for its Oakheart spiced rum brand.
This month, Richard Woodard drills down into the perceived threat of craft spirits and finds more than just a load of small-scale brand names to worry about.
This month, Richard Woodard considers the marketing opportunity - or lack thereof - of provenance when it comes to marketing in the vodka segment.
Earlier this month, Bacardi announced its purchase of Banks, a Mauritius-based range of rums. Why would a company whose name is synonymous with the rum category - almost transcends it - buy a rum brand? Richard Woodard investigates.
When you look at the way the various spirits categories are defined, you'd be forgiven for concluding that the liqueurs segment comprises 'everything else'. Evenso, argues Richard Woodard, the sector is still worth operating in, thanks in part to consumers' perceptions of liqueurs.
Despite the market split, the Tequila category is on the cusp of its own boomtime. But, the positioning of the mixto sector compared to 100% agave carries echoes of Scotch whisky past-tendency to hype single malts to the expense of blends. And now, Scotch volumes are suffering. Will Tequila make the same mistake? Richard Woodard investigates.
Gruppo Campari's decision to change the names of several rum brands in its Appleton Estate portfolio suggests that the segment may have stumbled on its own language. Does this mark the end of rum's reliance on the terminology used by Cognac and Scotch whisky? Richard Woodard delves deeper.
Last week, Diageo announced plans to invest US$400m on its operations in Mexico. While the headlines centred on the company's Don Julio Tequila operations, the country itself is ripe for growth. Richard Woodard investigates.
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